Vital Signs


CHSC Loan Repayment Opportunity Open through September 30, 2013

September 06, 2013  |  Post by: admin  |  Vital Signs Comments Off

The Colorado Health Service Corps (CHSC) loan repayment application is now open! Starting on September 1, 2013 until September 30, 2013, the online application is available for primary health care professionals who want to work in approved areas of Colorado, including Community Health Centers (CHCs).

CHSC offers generous student loan repayment in exchange for a three-year service commitment at clinical practice sites caring for Coloradoans in greatest need.

To be eligible for the qualified student loan repayment, an individual must practice full time delivering primary health care services in a public or nonprofit clinic in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).  The practice must accept public insurance and offer discounted services to low income, uninsured patients. The good news is, all of Colorado’s CHCs are automatically approved HPSA sites.

The nontaxable awards vary by health profession. Physicians and dentists may be awarded up to $35,000; physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, and mental health providers may be awarded up to $20,000; and dental hygienists can receive up to $7,500, per year of service. All contracts are for three years to facilitate long-term primary care provider retention in underserved Colorado communities.

Are you ready to apply? Access the CHSC provider application here. For questions about eligibility, please check out the CHSC website or contact the Colorado Primary Care Office at info@coloradohealthservicecorps.org or at 303-692-2466.

 

Emphasizing Community in Community Health Centers

June 06, 2013  |  Post by: admin  |  Vital Signs Comments Off

One of the special things about working at a Colorado Community Health Center (CHC) is that staff have the opportunity to truly interact with the community.

For example, Valley-Wide Health Systems partnered with Rocky Ford’s Jefferson Intermediate School to celebrate César Chávez day in March. Cindy Masias, outreach and special projects manager at Valley-Wide organized the event with help from other community partners and speakers.

The March 28, 2013 celebration included a school assembly with guest keynote speaker Dr. Virgilio Licona. Although he is now the vice president of Medical Services at Salud Family Health Centers, in 1973, Dr. Licona was the first director one of the state’s first migrant farmworker health clinics Colorado; Rocky Ford Community Health Center.

He described the work he did with farmworkers in Colorado, and the movement for better farmworker rights and health care started by César Chávez. At the end of his talk, he led the auditorium in chanting Chávez’ well-known phrase, “sí, se puede!” Students also enjoyed performances by matachines dancers.

Next, the entire school headed to the outdoor track where each classroom aimed to make as many laps as possible. An estimated 300-to-400 people walked the track together, including students, teachers, aides, food service workers, community members, members of Valley-Wide executive staff and local Valley-Wide management team members. Together they completed a total of 359 miles in a tribute to the 1966 walk from Delano to Sacramento, Calif., that Chávez and other farmworker-supporters undertook as protest against poor working conditions for farmworkers.

Students with parental permission and all adults were also offered a free health screening to test blood sugar and blood pressure. Valley-Wide employees conducted the screenings and spoke to each student about eating healthy, drinking enough water, getting enough physical activity, and preventing skin cancer. To tie these messages together, each student received a goody bag with a piece of fruit, a bottle of water, and a small packet of sunscreen.

This community involvement is a great demonstration of the work that CHC employees are able to do within their communities. Learn more about current job openings at Valley-Wide and other CHCs in Colorado here.

Farmworkers Receive Health Care Services at CHCs

April 04, 2013  |  Post by: admin  |  Vital Signs Comments Off

On March 31, many Americans celebrated César Chávez’s birthday throughout the country.  Chavez, co-founder of the United Farm Workers union with Dolores Huerta, is known for his activism supporting farmworkers’ rights.  He strove to gain fair treatment, improved working conditions, and increased wages on behalf of farmworkers.  Migrant and seasonal farmworkers serve a critical role not only to our economy but also to all Americans’ tables for the abundant food they help provide.

President Kennedy signed the Migrant Health Act into law in 1962 which established the Migrant Health Program that addresses the basic medical needs of farmworkers. In Colorado, CHCs provide affordable, high quality, primary health care to more than 12,000 hardworking migrant and seasonal farmworkers.

CHC services are located in regions throughout the state at High Plains Community Health Center in the Southeast Plains region; at Pueblo Community Health Center, Inc., in the Pueblo region; at Salud Family Health Centers in Metro Denver, Northern Front Range, Boulder/Broomfield, and Northeast Plains regions; at Sunrise Community Health in Northern Front Range and Northeast Plains regions; and at Valley-Wide Health Systems, Inc., in the San Luis Valley, Western Slope, Central Mountains, Southwest, Arkansas Valley, Northeast Plains, and Southeast Plains regions.

To learn more about migrant health programs and jobs at these health centers, please click on their website links:

To view a map of Colorado CHC migrant services locations, click here.

Health professionals interested in providing health care to farmworkers may be interested in the upcoming 2013 National Farmworker Health Conference. The event will be held, May 8 – 9, 2013 in San Diego, California.  The conference is sponsored by the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) which advocates for health care needs on the behalf of millions of people served by Community Health Centers (CHC) located in all 50 states and U.S. territories. For more information, click here.

What Integrated Health Care Means for Patients and Providers

March 01, 2013  |  Post by: admin  |  Vital Signs Comments Off

“Integrated health care” is a hot topic these days. But what does it mean? Simply put, integrated health care recognizes the benefit of patients receiving medical, dental and behavioral or mental health care at the same time in the same place. After all, ailments don’t necessarily stick to one field. Community Health Centers (CHCs) in Colorado are on the forefront of re-envisioning what health care can be, and all of them focus on providing integrated health care to their patients.

Recently providers as Salud Family Health Centers (Salud), a CHC with clinic locations in northeastern Colorado, wrote a short article about their model of integrating behavioral health into their overall care model for the National Association of Community Health Centers’ Community Health Forum Magazine. With 20 full-time behavioral health providers on staff, Salud can incorporate behavioral health into every patient visit. The most notable part about Salud’s model, say authors Katrin Seifert, PsyD, Jonathan Muther, PhD, and Tillman Farley, MD, is that “it is not primarily consultative. Salud’s behavioral health providers do not have to wait for a consult request from the medical provider, but rather they can see anyone at any time.”

This integrated model of care worked for Maria, a Spanish-speaking Salud patient who visited a Salud clinic complaining of persistent headaches and fatigue. With Salud’s integrated behavioral health model, her first primary care appointment began with a visit from a bi-lingual behavioral health therapist who let Maria know this is a standard for all patients at Salud.

The initial behavioral health evaluation allowed the care team to explain how stress can sometimes be linked to emotional as well as physical symptoms – such as headaches and fatigue. By starting this conversation, Maria’s care team was able to learn about recent events that were causing Maria to experience abnormal amounts of stress, and they were able to offer Maria the best advice for resolving and improving her physical and mental health.

You can read more about Maria and the integrated care teams at Salud here. And if you’re interested in putting your skills to use in an integrated team of health care professionals at a CHC, search for a job in your field on the CHAMPS Job Board, or check out all of Salud’s open opportunities here.

 

What is a Community Health Center?

January 22, 2013  |  Post by: admin  |  Vital Signs Comments Off

Like all other states in the US, Colorado offers Community Health Centers (CHCs) as affordable health care options for Coloradans located in rural, urban, and frontier areas of the state.  CHCs are non-profit or public comprehensive primary care providers with a mission to provide health care to low-income working families and individuals. Currently CHCs provide a health care home to more than 600,000 of their community members – one in 10 people in Colorado – including one third of our state’s low-income uninsured, one third of Medicaid enrollees, and one quarter of CHP+ enrollees. CHCs are especially able to meet the needs of their communities because more than half their Boards of Directors members are patients.

The new CCHN CHC Brochure displays a detailed map showing the 17 Colorado CHCs that operate 146 clinic sites located in high need areas.  Thirty-six of Colorado’s 64 counties have CHC sites, and patients from a total of 57 counties are cared for at CHCs.  The work that CHCs do is incredibly important for the health of Colorado, and CHC staff, patients, and partners see the impact made every single day.  CHCs are using innovative ways to help care for patients by using state of the art mobile health care vans, electronic health records, and team based models of care.

CHCs provide comprehensive primary health care offering internal pediatric and OB/GYN; maternity and prenatal care; pharmacy; case management services; and disease management programs.  If that’s not enough, Colorado CHCs employ culturally competent staff, including translation services on site; outreach and transportation services; and coordination and follow-up for hospital care.

Working for a CHC is a rewarding experience where staff make a difference. Would you like to help meet the needs of Colorado communities and work at a CHC?  If so, click here to view job opportunities located throughout the state.

Mental Health for the Holidays (and year-round) at Colorado CHCs

December 21, 2012  |  Post by: admin  |  Vital Signs Comments Off

The holidays present a certain amount of stress and at times, it may almost seem like too much.  Fortunately, there are ways to manage stressful times by using some short-term coping mechanisms. However, what do people do in the event that life’s pressures develop into long-term stress, depression and other mental illness conditions? That’s one of the reasons we’re proud that Colorado Community Health Centers (CHCs) offer mental health services as part of patient-centered care services (along with comprehensive primary health care, dental care, and enabling services).

The well-being of patients is of utmost importance at Colorado CHCs. CHCs know that mental health is an important piece of primary health care by treating the whole patient. CHCs treat patients when there are small amounts of stress to when more mental health management is required. CHCs in Colorado provide mental health services at some of their locations or by working with community partners to provide mental health services.

CHCs are finding innovative ways to offer mental health services to their clients.

For example:

  • Patients at Clinica Family Health Services, Inc. (Clinica) attending a regular primary health care appointment may also have immediate access to behavioral health care consultants. Clinica employs two full-time social workers to aid in seeing patients at regular appointments.
  • High Plains Community Health Center based in Lamar offers onsite mental health and substance abuse counselors. Additionally, High Plains offers self-management tools for patients to help facilitate their own health care improvements.
  • Colorado Coalition for the Homeless in Denver not only offers mental health services by appointment but also offers walk-in services on various days of the week.
  • Like many CHCs, the team of primary care and behavioral health professionals at Salud Family Health Centers based in Ft. Lupton, work together to link physical health and mental health. It is important to know that mental health stress can affect physical conditions.

Among many other professions, CHCs employ mental health providers such as psychiatrists, licensed clinical social workers, case managers and therapists. Working for a CHC is a very gratifying, mission driven experience. Would you like to work in a CHC? If so, and to learn more about what other employees of CHCs are saying click here, or search for CHC Jobs on the CHAMPS Job Board.

 

School Based Health Centers Improving Integrated Health Care for Colorado Youth

December 07, 2012  |  Post by: admin  |  Vital Signs Comments Off

Community Health Centers (CHCs) care for lower income people in many of Colorado’s communities. CHCs provide behavioral health, medical and dental care focusing on patient-centered care to people who may not have another source of health care.

Some CHCs also focus on particular populations including people experiencing homelessness, migrant farmworkers, and/or youth. One of the innovative ways some CHCs reach young patients is through school-based health centers. School-based health centers are clinics located directly within a school building and provide primary medical and behavioral health care to school-aged patients.

CHCs operate 29 school-based health center sites that are located in eight counties in Colorado. SBHC’s staff provide well child/adolescent visits, immunizations, management of chronic conditions, prescriptions, sports physicals, and preventative dental care among other care. Having these centers located directly within the school helps reduce health-related absenteeism, improves coordination of care, and increases early and periodic health screenings.

SBHCs are an extension of CHCs that value innovation by continually exploring new ways of doing things, striving to be ahead of the curve, and listening to and forecasting patients’ needs. Continually making health care improvements within their communities is a constant focus of CHCs and SBHCs.

For more information on the School-Based Health Center program visit:  http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDPHE-PSD/CBON/1251629854323

Learn more about working at Colorado CHCs and SBHCs by clicking here and selecting an individual website link, or check out the most recent job-postings at CHCs in Colorado here.

No Surprise: CHCs are Meeting and Exceeding the Quality of Private Practice

November 29, 2012  |  Post by: admin  |  Health Center Workforce Trends, Vital Signs Comments Off

What do you know about Community Health Centers (CHCs)? Would you be surprised to know that a recent study found that CHCs are providing better quality care to patients on most quality measures than private practices? It’s true; in August 2012, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, published a study that says just that.  

To find out how CHCs compare to private practice, researchers compared visits made to private practices and visits made to CHCs recorded in the 2006-2008 National Ambulatory Medical care survey. When they looked at how each performed, the researchers found that CHCs better adhere to national care guidelines than private practices on a third (6 of 18) of quality measures. And on 11 other measures, CHCs did just as well as private practice. There was only one measure on which CHCs fell slightly short.

Some examples of quality measures that researchers compared include management of common chronic diseases, use of preventive counseling, use of screening tests, and appropriate prescriptions for elderly patients.

CHCs look even better when the researchers adjusted for patient characteristics. It turns out that people who visit CHCs tend to have more chronic disease and socioeconomic complexity, but when the researchers adjusted for those factors, the private practice primary care physicians no longer performed better than CHCs on any of the measures.

Here at Colorado Community Health Network (CCHN), we are proud, but not surprised by these results. That’s because we know the teams at Colorado’s CHCs are top notch. And we also know that people who work at CHCs tend to really like their jobs. They say that working in a supportive team atmosphere, with state-of-the-art equipment, and with appreciative patients, makes the work meaningful and enjoyable.

If you’re interested in joining a high quality clinical or administrative team at one of Colorado’s 17 CHCs, check out the CHAMPS job board, or visit MissionDrivenCareers.org for more information.

Time to Vote!

October 26, 2012  |  Post by: admin  |  Vital Signs Comments Off

This year, the race for presidency is “neck and neck” which reminds us of the importance of voting.  The upcoming General Election on Tuesday, November 6, 2012, is a time for celebration, change and democracy.  US citizens have the choice, the opportunity, and the right to vote for public officials who stand for individuals’ same beliefs and views.  We remind you to participate on Tuesday, November 6, by voting and exercising your civic responsibility.

In support of the Election Day, some Colorado Community Health Centers (CHCs) helped their clients, staff, patients, and board of directors register to vote through outreach projects.  These outreach projects were sponsored by National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) or the Colorado Participation Project (CPP).

Some types of voter outreach reminders consisted of posters, videos, innovative tools, call centers, registration tables, and access to online voter registration.  Metro Community Provider Network (MCPN) worked with former Broncos player, Ebeneezer Ekuban, to develop a public service announcement about registering to vote. Visit MCPN’s website to view the video.  Peak Vista Community Health Centers created an innovative tool called “Prescription to Vote” pad for providers to “prescribe” patients to register to vote.  Other CHCs reminded clients to “pledge” to vote during appointment calls, when checking in for appointments and through use of voter registration tables.

It’s time to cast your vote through mail-in ballots, early voting, or in person on Election Day, November 6.  Visit www.govotecolorado.com to find your polling place or learn where to vote early.

Remember, every vote counts! 

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